Sanders, Bankes lead the way as Penn State Lehigh Valley dominates White-Out Game

PSULV Women's Basketball secured a big victory over Penn State Hazelton 87-55.

Image+courtesy+of+Sierra+Mamay

Image courtesy of Sierra Mamay

Joe Eckstein and Eric Fenstermaker

Penn State Lehigh Valley Women’s Basketball Team hosted their annual white-out game Sunday, February 9th, at the Stabler Center when they played host to Penn State Hazelton. The event featured many promotions such as games for kids, local high-school bands and cheerleaders, and giveaways for students. PSULV looked to secure a major win in front of their home crowd. 

PSULV jumped out to a fantastic start in the first quarter. They lead 21-6 at the end of the first quarter, and they never looked back. PSULV made it an emphasis to start fast and dominate from the tip. PSU Hazelton charged back in the second quarter scoring 20 points, but PSULV continued to score at a high rate, and they took a 44-26 lead into halftime.

PSULV came out from halftime just as impressive as they went in, and they outscored PSU Hazelton in both the third and fourth quarters and finished the game with an impressive 87-55 victory in front of their home crowd. 

PSULV capitalized in three main areas. First, they capitalized in transition on fast breaks. Secondly, they played fantastic defense, especially in their half-court and full-court presses. Lastly, their energy and passion for the game helped propel PSU LV to victory. This win will be a focal point that the team can build off during their playoff run. 

Head coach Lori Khalil knows just how important the white-out game means to Penn State Lehigh Valley athletics.

“It’s an amazing environment, the fact that we get to play here at Stabler Arena, Lehigh University has been amazing to us,” Khalil said. “PSULV community comes out and supports, the Lehigh Valley community comes out to support. We had the Dieruff High School band here, Southern Lehigh cheerleaders, we had the Coplay Wildcats come and play, so it just brings everyone together for this awesome game.”

Senior center Ebony Sanders had another big game, dropping 11 points while grabbing a game-high 18 rebounds, while sophomore guard Greta Bankes had a game-high 22 points. A good chunk of her scoring came off of the fast break. When asked about how much of factor this was in the team’s gameplan, Bankes said, “I think that a lot of [Coach Khalil’s] gameplans are just run, run, run… So yeah, I would say that every game that is the gameplan.”

Coach Khalil emphasized the team’s intensity when running the fast break.

“We want to run, that’s our game,” Khalil said. “We want to play really intense defense that will fuel our offense, so Greta did a great job getting down the floor. Jah’nel Oliver and Brianna Mobley did a great job getting her the ball and seeing that open man. Everyone else was running, Kristin Curry was running, but it started from the rebound, with Anaya [White] and Ebony [Sanders] getting the rebounds and then we pushed.”

The aforementioned Mobley had a big game from beyond the arc for PSULV, hitting a team-high three 3-pointers on an efficient 60%.

When asked about her effort from deep, Mobley said, “It felt really good, the energy in this gym was great, the white-out is an awesome event…The energy really just helped us feed off each other.”

As for Sanders, this will be her final white-out game with Penn State Lehigh Valley, and she couldn’t have asked for a better final send-off.

“It was a great atmosphere and we played well as a team,” Sanders said. “It was a good way to go out. I love winning. I love when my team does well, so it cheers my heart.”